The Digital Customer Success Podcast

Digital Customer Success, Music & Banter with Jeff Kushmerek of Infinite Renewals | Episode 028

November 28, 2023 Alex Turkovic, Jeff Kushmerek Episode 28
The Digital Customer Success Podcast
Digital Customer Success, Music & Banter with Jeff Kushmerek of Infinite Renewals | Episode 028
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Jeff Kushmerek of Infinite Renewals has to be one of the most dynamic and fun people in our amazing CS community. His contributions are immense via his generosity, amazing content and overall attitude towards CS. You might also see him as one of the most musically active members of the community.

While we do start with a fun 'this or that' activity on albums, in this fun convo, we delve into all sorts of great topics related to digital CS including:

  • Jeff's general approach to consulting
  • When his clients are NOT ready for a digital program
  • Human & Digital motions working together instead of replacing each other
  • How hiring junior CSMs for digital isn't necessarily the right staffing fit
  • Digital signals beyond basic login metrics
  • Sales to CS handoff
  • Operational rigor to make digital motions work
  • CS & Product interaction

This was a fun one which made me smile listening back to it during the edit.

Enjoy! I know I sure did...

Jeff's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffkushmerek/
Infinite Renewals: https://www.infiniterenewals.com

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Shoutouts:

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The Digital Customer Success Podcast is hosted by Alex Turkovic

Speaker 1:

Now, most times when you see CSMs with revenue of 2 million AR, you're going to hire some more people or move to digital. You knew that did you.

Speaker 2:

You didn't do that, did you? You knew that.

Speaker 1:

Instead you go on the hot tub with your girlfriends.

Speaker 2:

And, once again, welcome to the Digital Customer Success podcast with me, alex Turkovich. So glad you could join us here today and every week as I seek out and interview leaders and practitioners who are innovating and building great scaled CS programs. My goal is to share what I've learned and to bring you along with me for the ride so that you get the insights that you need to build and evolve your own digital CS program. If you'd like more info, want to get in touch or sign up for the latest updates, go to digitalcustomersuccesscom, and if you have a question or commentary to be used in an upcoming episode, call us and leave a message at 512-222-7381. For now, let's get started. Hello, welcome back to the show.

Speaker 2:

It is episode 28 and today I am so pleased to welcome Jeff Kushmerick to the show, and so you know he and I. A couple of disclaimers, I guess for the show. He and I are both musicians. There's quite a few musicians among the CS community, so we do spend the first I don't know five, ten minutes of the show rapping about music and doing a this or that on albums and just kind of having some fun back and forth. There was actually a ton of banter in this episode that I cut out, but it's kind of fun. So if you're the kind of person who listens to these shows, for you know the CS content, there's tons of that in there after the ten minute mark. But if you're in it for also the human element of it, after the episode there's kind of like.

Speaker 2:

I won't call it an outtakes reel, but I've left some of the banter in towards the end of the episode just for fun. Why not? So Jeff Kushmerick if you don't know him, he's very prolific on LinkedIn and other places. He's on all sorts of different podcasts, has his own podcast as well and has basically been in the consulting game for five-ish years with Infinite Renewals. Has a ton of great insight, lots of great stuff to say, super fun. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Jeff Kushmerick, because I sure did. I have a fun activity for us because I know we're both music people and I did actually.

Speaker 2:

I subjected John to this earlier today too.

Speaker 1:

John's new song, by the way, is fucking awesome. I sent him a recording of me. It's rolling the way over it's new tune. He didn't respond, so I'm like I hope I didn't offend him.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's really it's really really good. But we have a little game of this or that. Okay, so if you're watching on YouTube, this will be easy to kind of like figure out what we're doing. But if you're just listening, I'm going to hold up two records at a time and you're going to give me a this or that. You ready, yeah, okay, first pair we have Peter Gabriel, so, and we have Steely Dan's Goucho.

Speaker 1:

Okay, not even hard for me, yeah, so.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I am not on the Steely Dan train, I am in the. They are amazing. They are, yes, they deserve all the musician fluffing that they get, but it's just not for me. If I ever get asked to do the kid's show on me and solo, I just pack up my gear and walk away.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, he's going to be in Austin. I think next week we might go see him.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's great.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, I would so yeah, absolutely this one's, I guess, guitar oriented and we're going to go Knopfler Dire Straits versus Frampton Okay.

Speaker 1:

Which, which, which Dire Straits album is? Because that's a, that's a huge. Oh, brother's in arms.

Speaker 2:

It's the Dire Straits album.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, I mean Romeo and Juliet and all. Let's go to the songs on that. What's like? What do we have on that?

Speaker 2:

Well, so far away, money for nothing, walk of life, I mean it's all like good stuff.

Speaker 1:

I do prefer the early. I sound so bad saying that's like a prefer earlier before they were famous. Yeah, if, if I was to say which one am I going to put on and just like rock out and listen to it's talk box all day, windows down, yeah, frampton, yeah, yeah, I mean I might play some Frampton after we get out of here. This is, yeah, I'm on my way to pickle ball. I mean rock and Frampton comes alive.

Speaker 2:

This next one is somewhat telling, I think it's going to be is going to be. Is going to be maybe divisive, I don't know. Okay, but we're going.

Speaker 1:

Hopefully they're both Van Allen Allen albums. We're going Zep one.

Speaker 2:

Okay, zep one to back in black. Oh God, right, right.

Speaker 1:

First of all, both albums not a bad song.

Speaker 2:

True, I'm going to go with the Zep. You're going to go with the Zep.

Speaker 1:

I will always get the let out versus doing the. It was my love back in black. I I mean also, when can you put on in front of your kids, Cause, cause, having.

Speaker 2:

Let me put my love into you, Um yeah, yeah, but but kids can't understand what Brian is singing. Okay, they can understand what he's saying.

Speaker 1:

I like that. Have you seen the? Um? I'm on a bill hater kick right now when he does the like uh, the set, the sexy B say oh, we're going to do a job, like oh, great, they're going to do a job, they're going to do the like don't you go running around on me, right oh?

Speaker 2:

yeah.

Speaker 1:

What do you go with on those two.

Speaker 2:

I got to go with AC DC Um.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you're the the drumming on that. Is that? Is that a Phil Rudd? Yeah, this is Phil Rudd. Yeah, this is Phil.

Speaker 2:

Rudd all the way. Um, I mean, would would a different Zeppelin album change your? Change your vote.

Speaker 1:

So what you're going to say, led Zepp, two versus yeah, or three or four? Well, that's an easy choice. Um four, I would probably put ACDC on yeah cuz, I agree with you.

Speaker 2:

over play, I agree with you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, physical graffiti, though I'm gonna go with physical graffiti.

Speaker 2:

Okay, last one. Okay, because we do. We should talk about digital CS a little bit eventually. I gotta. You know it's got to be a tax write-off, so I gotta pay the bill. Abby Road Versus Sergeant Pepper.

Speaker 1:

Oh, abby Road, Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but but I will also say Revolver on, or, as we say in musician terms, the drug out.

Speaker 2:

Are the only ones that can really listen to you know it's funny because John we're talking about John Johnson had a very similar reaction. He's like it depends on what kind of drugs I'm on, which is very true if you want to get trippy and just.

Speaker 1:

LSD from. Like you know, she loves you. Yeah, yeah, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. Now the other question would be revolver versus Abby Road, cuz that's a, that's a harder one for me, I'd have to do a song by song Analysis on that one.

Speaker 1:

Again, you probably don't listen to revolver as much, so yeah, that's a, yeah, that's a hard one might still be Abby Road, might still be Abby Road. I'm also a big fan of the White Elm, so For sure, yeah, yeah, don't, don't, don't, don't, let me down as my guitar warm-up song. So that's. I do a little like jazz version with the the West Montgomery style thing on that. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, that leads me to my next question. Is the the? The awesome, jazzy intro to your own podcast, which I love, by the way is that you did? You do that.

Speaker 1:

So I'm, I did a couple of them, but I think the one that you're talking about. I can't remember if I did that one or not. I'd have to go back and look, because there was a couple that were part of anchor and I had been using them and then one day I just picked up and I did my own one, um, so I can't remember. Um, yeah, that's a tough one, but I can go into anchor and find which one, because one is like you know, it's got the dot wave versus like, yeah, I should do more. I had this thing where I was gonna just record like these little pieces and snippets and stuff like that. Yeah, who's got the time right? Who's got the time?

Speaker 2:

yeah, exactly. Uh, well, jeff, now that we've you know we're 10 minutes into this thing. It's it's great to have you on and I really appreciate you taking the time and and it's it's always good talking to you.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for having me, because I feel like this is I mean this in a good way. Yeah, the NPR of CS podcast holy shit.

Speaker 2:

I take that as a high compliment and one that I am not worthy of.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I you've got. First of all, just the voice and the calm demeanor reminds me of those two ladies on Saturday night.

Speaker 2:

Live, they're like the sweaty, the sweaty sweaty balls yeah that's so good.

Speaker 1:

Hello, it's. And I feel like I'm Like a level below Joe Rogan, like one of those Rogan wannabes. Like I got camo on and a black shirt and I do BJJ every week. Like that's how I feel that's funny.

Speaker 2:

You don't have a red curtain behind you or a brick wall, I guess Joe.

Speaker 1:

Do you want to hear something funny? On behind me. Hopefully he listens mutual friend, maybe After I do one of these things he does us. Oh, you can't see it on this screen, but if I was on the widescreen, there's two windows like that behind me and he, he will do a photo shop kind of like I just showed you before and he'll show me if my blinds are misaligned.

Speaker 2:

I thought you're gonna say he photoshopped himself, picking into the window.

Speaker 1:

That would be nice too. I would take any of that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so.

Speaker 1:

Graham. Oh, thank you very much, yes.

Speaker 2:

So, um, you know, I I hate doing the obligatory CS background stuff, but I do. I mean there's. There's a couple things I do want to hit on. Obviously, infinite renewals is five years going strong.

Speaker 1:

Oh, my god, I'm so old. Um started in 2020, so it'll hit four. Oh, you know, you're right. I was consulting on the side as a side gig first and then full-time February 2020. So yeah, it was originally the old Jake. Down with Jkc was our super original Jeff kashmire consulting group. Yeah so, but yeah so we're. We're now hitting another milestone. That's been. I hadn't even thought about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's amazing, that's, that's really cool and I really I really like your. Just some of the things that I've heard and seen from you talking about your approach to consulting is super refreshing. You know, just because you're you're, you're kind of in it, you know you're not just like there to provide a Like a readout and a report and disappear.

Speaker 1:

You know, I Was an operator and I'd pay for those things and I'm like Jesus like.

Speaker 1:

I paid 15 grand for like for a quote. I Remembered saying that when I was first dealing with some of my First customers and everything, and they were saying I'm not paying a discovery just to get another quote. And so really, you know, I don't want to get too much into the song, but like so I really made sure that's very clear. Like, yes, we can and will do the strategy stuff, but we prefer to roll up our sleeves. But sometimes we just need to get to root cause analysis and it might not be exactly what you think it is, which is always, you know, bad ICP sales.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, for sure, do you find I've, in the few engagements that I've done, I've always found the the role of consultant coming in to be one that is almost soap opera-ish, because you get into like a Spanish novella.

Speaker 1:

What's that felt setting on your screen, where I'm so sorry for everybody, with the two people?

Speaker 2:

But you know, there's an element of that drama, because I I feel like when I've walked into those situations, I become the neutral third party, that where where individual contributors feel strangely open, confiding things about their organization, about their leadership, about whatever it is that they would never confide even to their peers. You know, it's like this, it's like the safe, safe zone, do you? Is.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know, it actually was told by a mentor of mine that that was like one of Mike, like my, any talent, besides being able to stop productivity in its tracks on podcasts, being able to, no, but to be serious on that. If you come in with the approach of like, can we swear?

Speaker 2:

on the show like I might swear.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally yeah, absolutely. It's literally like look, I don't give a crap about the politics or anything. I have one goal here is to find out how to make things better. And if you go into that like, and I tell people like, I do record them just so I, you know, so I can get the notes down, I can be more engaged or whatever, but I'm like this is between you and me, they'll never be a name, said you know you're, you're, this is a good thing.

Speaker 1:

Your leadership said we want to make things better and they brought a company like ours into and there are many of us but, like you brought a company like ours into to help with that situation. And they realize if they open up and tell the real stuff there won't be, you know, penalties and ramifications and all those things. So I would never, ever, ever tell, unless it was something super divisive and I was yeah, you have to make a decision on. You know Stuff it's, but you know, not like the psychiatrist in the murder, but you know like, well, you know there are some strong feelings on x, y and z, but you try not to tell your sources for sure.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah, it's kind of like. It's kind of like clinical psychology Crosses with like journalism, like investigative journalism.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's haters impression of yes, yes the date line. What's his name?

Speaker 1:

That's like Keith Williamson. He's Williamson, yeah something to be confused with the other guy who's Josh Williamson. I think it was kind of like. Yeah, now and I can apply this to CS, like now, most, now, most times, when, when you see CSM's with with revenue of Two million AR, you're gonna, you're gonna hire some more people or move to digital, you do that did you.

Speaker 2:

You didn't do, that did you.

Speaker 1:

Instead, you go in the hot tub with your girlfriend.

Speaker 2:

Yep hit the nail on the head. So Perhaps this is a good transition or maybe it's just not a good transition at all into my primary question that I ask everybody on the show and compile and all that good stuff, which is to say I'd love your Elevator pitch, as if you were talking to mom and pop about digital CS. What, what is it that we're trying to accomplish with digital CS?

Speaker 1:

Wow, it does depend to him talking to in the audience. So there was a quote, by the way, I think was John Johnson and I have it in my notes and I put it in one of my presentations because he is some summarized it perfectly, but it was Digital CS empowers our customers to get what they need faster, right, and because if you think about the end game of what you need to put in place to make that successful, yeah, that's what you're doing right.

Speaker 2:

I like the. I like the word faster because it denotes all sorts of things like faster and come encompasses you putting things where your customers want them, when your customers need them, hopefully serving it up, but also making it readily available.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, now, I've heard it described as a lower unit economics. I've heard it described as that email thing, heard everything. But I think we as you know, you've been through it everybody thinks they're gonna serve that. You know they're lower tier and Instead all your tears and maybe even a lot more of your higher tier customers, who are super engaged or always in it, wind up using a digital program.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, more as well right, exactly, yeah, I, I think you're, you're spot on there and you know it's just. It's amazing, in all the episodes that I've recorded there, there is no one definition, right, you know, there's like themes around certain things, of course, like everybody kind of gets what the high level themes are, but everybody has a different flavor to it. Everybody has-.

Speaker 1:

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I think it's both.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it's both, because, at the end of the day, my takeaway is that you know we're all trying to roughly do the same thing right. We're trying to serve the customer with helpful information when they need it. You know that in on a persona level, but how you go about doing it differs wildly depending on who your customers are, who your users are, what your tech stack looks like, what your data quality is is like. You know if you own renewals or not. Like, like, like. There's. In fact, I posted about it and linked in the other day about the fact that I strongly believe that digital CS and those that are operating in this bubble of digital CS, or maybe CS ops, have probably the most variables out of any function that exists. Just because you're getting data from all over the place, you're dealing with all kinds of different systems, different cases, different types of keys use cases, products, I mean it's like all over the map.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I think it's a good thing to an extent where you're not just like just dropping a program in there, like oh, we bought sales force right, like it's like no, we're going to create you know, jane Aathan likes to use the term program like we're going to put a program together, right, and that's exactly what it is. And we're going to put a program together to meet these needs that our customers, that we're struggling to meet right now or we're predicting we will struggle to meet.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, yeah, exactly. So you know, and part of what you do in in your consulting practice is you're from what I get is you're really focused on clients who are killing it in sales but are having trouble with plugging the holes in the leaky funnel, right, yeah, and not always killing, you know.

Speaker 1:

You know, especially this year where you know there's a little bit less on the new revenue and there's more of a focus on current revenue, it's kind of like let's ratchet up that that side of things as well. And, you know, getting into the unit economics of things, like we just kept throwing bodies after this and X, Y and Z. And we know that we're looking at 2x in sales again. Does that mean we go 2x and CSM's like, oh my God, that's not profitable right?

Speaker 2:

So when you're, when you're speaking with these customers, what I'm not going to ask you is at what point do you advise your customers to get into digital? What I am going to ask you is what are the instances where you advise your customers not get into digital because they're not ready, because you know whatever doesn't exist, like? Is there an instance where you're not recommending it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I did that recently. See if I can sanitize the make sure I don't say the names. So that company had decided not to sell to that segment anymore.

Speaker 1:

Yeah basically we're not going to go after the sub 25 K, which I was like, by the way, like I'm a 25 K customers, but regardless. And then they said, yeah, let's just do that email thing. And I was like, oh, do you mean like a digital approach? And they're like, right, we'll just do the digital approach. And I basically said, there's, there's no documentation, there's nobody that's going to oversee this, you don't have any systems in place for that In order to do this successfully. You know, here's a strategy, here's stage one, but you're not there yet now.

Speaker 1:

But what they had wanted to do was just immediately move the CSMs off of that segment up into higher ones. Essentially because they started, they had some small early successes with massive enterprise deals and said, oh, we just need to sort of swing the Titanic in that direction. And I'm not so sure that strategy or if it worked out, but it was a little. They weren't thinking. That's why we're there to help them through that. But like that I would not go with digital on this, because they were essentially just going to say this customer base is just not going to be served at all. And they did not have the mechanics in place except for maybe an email to support. So not even like the support you know success team triage email type of thing yeah, not even that. It was literally like it costs too much for us to serve this revenue for these customers so we're just going to ignore them. I was like, oh my God, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, exactly. Well, one of the probably most frequent questions that I get is you know is I know I need to do this digital thing, I just don't know where to start.

Speaker 1:

Well, they could. They could start by contacting me and Jeff.

Speaker 2:

Kushmore yeah, absolutely Right. But like I'm sure you get that question, Like you know they're, they're, they're stuck in this place where it's analysis, paralysis or whatever, and they've got you know they've got XYZ, or they don't have XYZ.

Speaker 1:

I know who's got a lot of that going on. Actually, a few people I know got that going on. So you get down to the Ys right. I mean, you always have to say like why, you know, in this day and age, obviously there's a there's a financial aspect of it as well too, but I I come in from more of an efficiency and that customer is being served things faster.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, the wrong reason to get into digital is because you just bought a CSP for the sake of having bought a CSP right.

Speaker 1:

I agree. I would also say that the last thing that people do when they buy a CSP is launch a digital program Right. They're usually like can we just copy that plane and just market to a different tier? Like okay, right click. Save as digital touch Jesus.

Speaker 2:

Dangerous tokens. There's a new band name Dangerous Tokens.

Speaker 1:

That's good, that's yeah. We need to share our notepads of band names. I haven't read today and I can't remember any of them I have to write them down the second. I think of them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, same here. Yeah, my wife and I have that game like oh, band name.

Speaker 1:

Did you also get into band name versus album title you?

Speaker 2:

know. No, that's a good nuance.

Speaker 1:

That was like after load in three hour wait time. That's when that game is usually played Like ah, that's more of an album title right, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Exactly Like sticky fingers.

Speaker 1:

Like you wouldn't name a band physical graffiti. Well, there is a cover band.

Speaker 2:

Name that now but like no, that's not that Exactly. Yeah, my personal opinion is that some of the most successful digital programs have humans really tightly intertwined with the digital motion, right?

Speaker 2:

You know and I think there's this kind of misnomer that once you go digital you're eliminating the CSM or you're eliminating XYZ. It's like, you know, it's like not. You know it's not guardrail to guardrail, it's like somewhere in, somewhere in the middle. And I'm curious to get your flavor and your take on on what a good interaction between you know, digital motions and human interaction looks like.

Speaker 1:

For a clarification point. Yeah, you've got a segment that was previously serviced by a human being and now that segment is Currently majority. Well, what I'm trying to get at is are you talking about the difference between you might have a digital team they're overlooking the digital thing or or the tier? Excuse me, but you might also have an SMB tier and an enterprise here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm coming at it from the flavor of like look, you've got this team of CSMs, they're all doing this repetitive stuff and they're all trying to, you know, check in with customers. We have this massive opportunity to take some of that stuff and to automate some things and to to basically make the mundane aspect of it as Automated and digital as possible, while still preserving the CSM's presence and their involvement in those things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so this changes for me not to throw the classic it depends on depends.

Speaker 1:

You know what's what I like and what I actually literally just finished doing, like. I mean, like this week with somebody, is For what was needed here and I'm not getting into what it was before, so that would take too long but essentially Moved it to a model where, let's say, you've got 500 digital customers in a segment, assign them to one person because there was a, they were getting about 12 in bounds a week on that, right, yeah, so so the thing that I would say is that, instead of doing all the reactive and the firefighting, you are now and I would say this to all the tiers you are now being freed from your shackles to just work on the more high priority work, so, and in a digital motion. I would say you had some warning sign. So, first of all, for this current customer that I'm talking about, that person's job is to move them into the next year essentially, which can mean many different things, which is value. Articulation Based on your dual can do a lot more strategic things, like I notice from your website that you're trying to X if you use this feature, which, unfortunately, is available only in the next plan up or whatever.

Speaker 1:

That's one thing, right, everybody knows the other stuff. You know, health, fire, health score goes down, launch some type of activities, step in and things like still need it, not downplaying it. But I think there's some more strategic things that you can do, which is why I traditionally say and apologies, I'm sure this has come up a million times on your podcast, I have almost every episode yet, but you know I have listen to a bunch. So what what most people do is that they think that they can hire a junior CSM, drop them into that spot, right. And then it's like Maybe, but do you have CS ops that can interpret things for you? And this is a couple years ago. I don't know if you know David Eparlie. He was my guy on this stuff. When we talked about that, it was like, right, we provide these reports to the junior CSM's because they would not know what Signals and things to look for this a couple years ago things hadn't matured is enough. They had.

Speaker 1:

And, and so you know, I built up this opinion in my head that, like you actually need somebody that's more strategic, so that they and you might not be using generative AI to fire off that like hey, I just noticed x, y and z type of a thing where, where, like when do you interject that human into the process and say Looks like you're not logging in, right, or or looks like all of your users aren't logging in, which to me triggers off of their trialing something else, right?

Speaker 2:

now, exactly, yeah, I um on my, on my digital team, I've I've pulled a couple folks in, but one in particular came to us from the support function and he, because of that, he has this knack for just Analyzing the shit out of an issue like you know yeah it's like okay, you get this alert, for there's no such thing as a corner case if you're in support, right yeah?

Speaker 2:

right exactly, but he'll he'll go, look at all corners of things and put together this nice little digest of like, here's what happened to get us to this point. And then you know the beauty is he's got that strategic kind of mindset to go, okay, this is what got us here, this is the path forward, and then connect the dots with various people to make that happen. And and you're right, like you know, I think. I think, for example, one of the things I've seen a lot is like, you know, you, you pull bdrs into a digital cs role, which sure, I mean it's, it's, I think it's a pretty logical career path. But if you're, if you want them to be like, truly strategic about this stuff and and and really know the ins and outs of things, it's got to be Somebody who has that, you know, that next level up view of the business.

Speaker 1:

Right, because you also might get into situations where people are like and I definitely saw this on some digital stuff where it's like, um, if they're not contacting me, good, right, like you know. Where it's more like, no, you know we need some strategic things going on here. There was a situation where I was going through a team we're doing the whole big book shift, as I call CSM tetris, and we pulled up every CSM's book of business and said, uh, let's put two columns on this spreadsheet. You know, of course, winds up in a spreadsheet even though it's on sales. For, yeah, and it's like, mark, the ones where they're um, they are um, there's no upsell potential. And might have heard me say, like me and HubSpot, I will never get to that $5,000 a month thing. They're happy with me, I don't need anybody to talk to me. Bob's your uncle, we're good.

Speaker 2:

Right Good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, one was um, um, level of interaction, right. So, for an easy path, which we wound up saving one FTE, um, we just had everybody mark those two. Those were the easy move things in there. But I did notice from some people when I had scrolled to the right and you couldn't see the revenue number, where they were just like, yep, digitally, up, digitally, up digital. I'm like these people are paying, they're, they're on the highest tier, right? Yeah, well, I don't know. So all's good, right, and I'm like, uh, no.

Speaker 2:

No right, it's like um, I was speaking with somebody else about, about um, support metrics and we were talking about support metrics going into a scorecard and, uh, the point we were making was Zero cases Is not green, zero cases is like.

Speaker 1:

No one gave us users.

Speaker 2:

We better. We better, like, check in and see what's going on. Is this the morning? Yeah, like yeah, are there cobwebs on the instance? Like what's going on? Yeah, um, you and I both participated in the update AI Um workshops.

Speaker 2:

You were in the dc event, I was in Austin yesterday, um, which was really cool, and it was focused on um, c? S and sales, uh, interaction, let's put it that way. Yep, um, I thought it was very helpful and, and, quite frankly, much needed, like those conversations are just much needed, because there's just there's Anyway, slice it, there's animosity between c? S and sales.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, most unnatural, kind of back to your support metaphor. Like I'd be, I'd be more concerned if there was no.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right exactly exactly.

Speaker 2:

So you know, I thought those events were, were, were were great, um and, and I wanted to talk with you specifically about, you know, probably a more tactical element to that, which is the classic, you know, sales to CS handoff, because I think that there's a way of doing it that doesn't work, which is like not doing it. There's the way of doing it that's very human, heavy, and you do handoff meetings and things like that, and then there's ways that are that are digitally assisted and I'm curious to dig into a little bit of have you seen things, have you seen motions in place that help with this handoff and help alleviate some of the pain around this handoff?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, absolutely. I think you're going to go down different angles, so I was sort of preparing for some different, but yeah, I actually just rolled out. I'm going to. You know I think I posted this thing like go hug your rev ops person, whatever, because if you can work these things out right, you know, one of the customers I'm working with is a higher volume or MRR type of customer, but they all need onboarding just because there's some technicality to it. And you know we found some potholes along the way to your journey mapping. Oh, this is missing, this is missing, this leads to X and things like that. And at the same time, because of the sort of faster paced transaction of sales, we couldn't, you know, just you know be having 30 minute meetings all the time.

Speaker 2:

Right yeah.

Speaker 1:

So you know, we found a nice middle ground on that. You know, first of all, this is part of the stuff I was saying the big rig. So people are there, they can just ignore this, but have the conversations with sales and be the sales whisperer, right? There's a big difference between the person who always complains about sales like we're talking about and the ones where you can walk in, just basically be like I'm going to make your life a lot easier for you, right? But in order to do that, let's just find a way to do X, y and Z, right. And so basically saying like you don't like your phone blowing up two weeks after because nobody's been assigned, or X, y and Z Our team doesn't like it when they walk into something blind, right. So let's find a and so you always want to know about deals going on and everything like that. So let's find a way to create a little auto form that when something moves to closing in your CRM, the medic information gets streamed over into the next step along the way Into the next. You know it is good when you've got a CRM that is bi-directional and can push into the place where it needs to be.

Speaker 1:

So in this scenario. It pushed to the onboarding platform, which is different than the CSP, and then the, and then we put a 15 minute meeting in place. Oh, actually, no, no, no, actually there's no internal meeting on that. That also triggers off a Slack, because everybody you know is we're trained to read the Slack and whatnot. That gets a PM assigned and a CS assigned because CSM still the owner, even though during the implementation period you've heard my general contractor versus plumber speeches. So the CSM is the general contractor, the implementation is the plumber. My dad the plumber is for all you plumber. Adjacent people like don't worry, I'm not making fun of them, and, and so this is that was all done automatically. And at the end of the day there's a kickoff that happens and the sales person is there for 15 minutes to make sure that all the information is there and it's read through. There's an expiring discount, there's X, there's Y, and then they can just walk away, but you avoid all the well, john told me that we didn't have all that.

Speaker 2:

Right, so you avoid that stuff.

Speaker 1:

That's, you need some personal. You cannot automate that, unless it's like a system where you don't get any interaction. It's all you know, coin operated and things like that. Yeah, product led stuff.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So that's I mean. I can go more, but I think that's probably what you're looking for. Like that, that helped a lot with the sales to CS process. Oh, so what were some things that happened? Don't fill out that form, don't get you commissioned, right, because it's just part of the natural closing process. It's nothing crazy, you know. It's just like that's what you have to do and because the medic information is there, like then people get the actual reasons why people are buying. So you don't get into that terrible like do you guys even talk to each other internally conversation?

Speaker 2:

I think one of the commonalities here is is you know, no matter how you slice it, no matter what you implement and how you hand off information from one system to the other so that one person can make the other person read it, you know, just to my manner, blah, blah, blah, blah blah. There's operational rigor that's involved with all of this stuff. Like there's no, no way around ensuring that there is adherence compliant I hate the word compliance, but like compliance with the process so that it does run smoothly into your point. Like you know, is there an impact on commission, because it doesn't happen? Is there an impact on XYZ? Like you got to? You got to incentivize the right behaviors in order to make this shit work.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so I talk about. It's funny because what we I'll make the connection, if I can pull it off is that my team came together and John was on that team we talked about. It wasn't the sales to see us. We were told to like find a problem and I think it originally started with that. But the thing was talking about when you lose your champion and same cadence, and you might have seen a picture where we had an up arrow and a down arrow. That essentially meant that you know you go up to talk to the business owners and you go down for the users that are what's in it for me, and that's essentially the same thing. Right, you go up to the top, which the sales managers, and saying, like how do we make your life easier? Like I don't want my phone blowing up with all these things, and blah, blah, blah, like okay, gotcha, and then for us, it's like for the people actually doing it, they need the information to get started and think about that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the handoff thing too is, you know, I think doing it in an organized manner and you know, and including all the information that's necessary avoids this whole like having to resell the solution post sale because your decision makers are nowhere to be found, right.

Speaker 1:

You just remind me of something. When I got to my slide that had an actual picture of a sales form, everybody pulls their phone and, like you've never seen a form before, Like they're going to send you all the slides.

Speaker 2:

It's five bucks yeah, exactly, yeah. That's hilarious. You're like oh.

Speaker 1:

I was so shocked. Suddenly I was like is the president behind me?

Speaker 2:

Exactly, exactly. That's amazing. On a similar vein, I'd love to hear some experience that you've had or some things that you've seen around the interplay between CS and product as well, because I think that's a commonly missed thing CS is-.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's a huge thing.

Speaker 2:

It's a big issue.

Speaker 1:

It's a big issue. Yeah, what areas I mean? I have more of this that focuses a little outside the digital realm.

Speaker 2:

That's fine. Yeah, I mean, it's like that whole element of look. We're privy to all this information.

Speaker 1:

Actually, I can tie this into the digital realm because I'll extend it. Actually, this is the true story, so I always apologize because my dad always repeated himself and like stop telling the story about the big fire. I always feel like I'm doing that when I'm telling these stories.

Speaker 2:

No, what's the story about the big fire?

Speaker 1:

I could be funny, but I'm not going to get there. But so, anyways, there was a situation I was in where the CS team was having problems getting product to address any items that were brought up from low ARR customers, right, and they're like oh well, xyzcom is paying us, let's just say, for orders of magnitude, 200k a year. And so when they say we want this feature, we're going to prioritize that over, and they would like, laughingly, like shit all over. They would like, if it was like this beekeepers thing that I have here for my voice project, they'd be like for beekeepers, we're going to go build that for beekeepers, beekeepers they keep saying it. And so what we wound up doing is I call this the long tail of CS, which is we put together this feature, we made sure it's a dropdowns, no free text and all that stuff. What are they looking for? And we found that it actually was like 400K of low MRR customers accumulated that over road, this one customer. And then we're like well, what about the G2 and all that? Like you piss off 15 customers versus one customer, like that whole thing.

Speaker 1:

So I just feel like with product you just always have to really go above board and over board on the data. Right yeah. At the end of the day, I will tell you the most successful thing that I ever did in Barry from Thigh Industries Thank you for being an amazing CEO, because he was the first one that really brought into this for me. And when he realized that we were losing customers the churn was higher because of feature issues and developer saying not my literally telling me, not my job he made sure everybody had a retention KPI as part of their bonus. Ote, wow, and that's again. We went to the sales and the carrot. Somehow money fixes all of these things. Right yeah. And then it's going to affect my bonus and you know, you got the swimming pool we're putting in.

Speaker 2:

Sure enough did. Yeah, Sure enough did. That's cool. I love that Well as much as I would love to like chat with you for another couple of hours.

Speaker 1:

We can do that anytime. But I hear you, I got a pickleball match coming up. I got to go stretch for a half hour before that this sucks getting old, doesn't it? One hour activity. That equals an hour and a half of mobility work. Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

And tons of hydration. Yeah, what's what is in Jeff Kushmerick's content diet. What are you? What are you paying attention to?

Speaker 1:

This is going to. When I tell you this, I knew this was coming and I was going to try and lie my way around this because it exposes me for what I know. You think I am Right. I'm a huge, I'm going to pull up in my Spotify. I'm a huge reality TV junkie, but only certain slice. Okay, so I don't do the big brother, I don't do any of the dating shows per se. Okay, survivor, the challenge, amazing race, and I go deep. I go and there's always with these there's two levels of podcasts, right, yeah, yeah, there's there's sort of like hey, they went in and they do this and this is that, and there's like right, so they did a three, two, one plurality vote where they split the and I'm like whoa, like in. So so I go deep on those. I'm in the Reddit, but I'm looking at my current podcasts and shows right now, so I'm not kidding. Yep, you can see the orange Digital.

Speaker 1:

I've got gangro retain in there and that's kind of almost it. I do update I that's actually in my in my iTunes because it downloads automatically and I need stuff to listen to on planes and that's that. And then I get like super hooked into a show and I do rewatches of dramas and then I do follow along. So I did Roy cast for succession and I did a second in command for a VP rewatch which is amazing because they've got Jonah and Matt from that doing that and then I've got some I list. I don't believe in the general news sources. So I did this volunteer thing for a seal that died maybe sale that died from my town here and to help them out. I kind of got involved with that community back in the day and there are some people that are former operators, that are friends with people and they can tell you exactly what's going on in situations with no bias, right.

Speaker 1:

So, so I've got two podcasts on that. One's called the team house and the other one is zero blog 30, which is clever yeah. So that's, you know, you're probably like Jesus, like that's not at all. That's great. What's going on in there, and then things will come go. I've also do a lot of Conan O'Brien podcasts because, at the end of the day, we just need to laugh a little bit.

Speaker 2:

I mean he, yeah, that show in particular makes me. I've gotten into the comedy rabbit hole on podcasts a little bit. Yeah, Like I really. I really enjoyed the limited series of podcasts called strike force five which was basically it's all of the talk show hosts during the writer strike got together, so you've got the jimmies. You got Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. You had Seth Meyers. You had whoever else you know.

Speaker 1:

Colbert and the rating. Yeah, I forget.

Speaker 1:

Bill Burr is in the list there too. I just I just assumed everybody thinks I'm from Boston, so I listened to Bill Burr. So I do have a problem, though You'll appreciate this, since we're on the content diary thing I have this chameleon, unfortunate chameleon type of thing. So if I listen to a lot of Bill Burr, I'm like, yeah, so go fuck yourself. Okay, so, right, so. But but then like I was going into, like I told you I had a QBR and a private equity meeting today and everything, so I was like listening to like the Saster podcast to make sure I was right into that.

Speaker 1:

That's the other one that's in that auto download list, cause I find those stories with CEOs and everything like that is just absolutely amazing and essential listening as well, too, so I'm glad I remembered that.

Speaker 2:

So I love my first million. Have you listened to that?

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, but it's been a while. I think you know when you switch phones, yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's a real good one.

Speaker 1:

That's a really good one.

Speaker 2:

One thing that I don't know what made me think of this, but one thing that lives in my head rent free is, you know, the Bill Hader We've touched on Bill Hader like three times today.

Speaker 1:

If you have not to tie this in, I think I know where you're going. The first time Bill Hader was on the Conan O'Brien needs a friend podcast and they were talking old and so you go find that episode. I asked and you can't find this anywhere. You actually it's not on YouTube. You have to go listen to this episode. Five minutes in they were talking about how they both love old timey voices, right, and how, like Conan had come up with the ahoy-hoy for Mr Burns and then they were like they brought it into, like how Alexander Graham Bell, like how obnoxious is that he thinks he's going to dictate that everybody is going to forever for the future of telephone. You have to say ahoy-hoy and the person goes back ahoy. And then they started, without this being totally off the cuff, they started doing a booty call in that language. They're like ahoy-hoy, four occasion plea. But you have to go on and listen to it. It's so, so funny.

Speaker 2:

I need to check that out. Yeah Well, the one Bill Hader moment that lives, or moments that live, rent free in my head is when he was, you know, he was Steph on whatever, and and his writer would always sneak in like these things into his cue cards that he wasn't expecting, and one in particular he kept sneaking in MTV's Dan Cortez.

Speaker 1:

This guy on Seinfeld. That was still up, george.

Speaker 2:

Anyway, anyone you want to give it.

Speaker 1:

I think we sandwiched some contents in the middle of that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah we really did. Is there anyone you want to give a shout out to like like people who doing cool shit and digital, oh man.

Speaker 1:

I. There's some people behind the scenes. You know I just worked with churn zero and this Colleen from you know who you are. Like, try, think some I Mean. So we're gonna say the same people. Like like anytime. I've got like a gut check that I needed Stan Enos, right? Yeah, I want to talk hardcore data. I told her about David Epperly is who I go to for that and yeah, you know, again, I Reference this on some other stuff, but there's just so many people that are too busy doing the shit that they're not. You know, you wouldn't know their names right and I'm like yeah, I'm like at search spring, like amazing, like the revops person I work like.

Speaker 1:

So there's just all these people that I could, I could shout out to yeah, I can't think of other ones off the top man. Those. Those people are the oh. And Angelina. I Saw her out of turn zero. Better than flask the exceping, I see her face Would. I recorded a podcast with her on digital stuff she was. She came for like three months straight. She was writing on Digital stuff. I think it's Angelina Cabino. I Can get that name to you. Oh, oh.

Speaker 2:

Angelica yes, yes, yeah, yeah, she's great yeah so great yeah we've. There's this new Digital CS community, slack community called DCS connect, and there's all these little, all these people that are like operating digitally, but maybe silently, are starting to get their way into this community and it's really it's really cool place, yeah, so yeah. Um, well, look I've. I've kept you long enough. We've had some laughs. We talked about some cool stuff. Where can people find you engage with you? What are you up to all that good, yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know infinite renewals comms, the website. You know my LinkedIn is, I think, the the point. You know we're fortunate or unfortunately, where I post a lot and but we're doing a lot of stuff on the infinite renewals side as well. We found, by request, we started selling our playbooks because you know, when you, you know what it's like to journey and then diagram, then you know, come up with what. If you actually Listed all those things out and I had posted like a screenshot one time, do like I have that kind of that. I was like, oh, I was thinking about that. I'm like you want a mirror screenshot? You want to buy a mirror screenshot like five easy payments.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, here's my stripe but no. But you know, infinite renewals, comm and in LinkedIn is where we're hanging out. So absolutely. Yeah cool. Thanks for having me. I said super, super happy that you asked me to join and you know, do I'm in this stuff every day. Like I forgot, like two or three of these going on at once, so I'm like I feel like. I'm up to speed on the digital stuff right now, so Awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I appreciate your time. Thanks, appreciate it. Yeah, thank you for joining me for this episode of the digital customer success podcast. If you like what we're doing, consider leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice. It really helps us to grow and to provide value to a broader audience. You can view the digital customer success definition word map and get more details about the show at digitalcustomersuccesscom. My name is Alex Turkovich. Thanks again for joining and we'll see you next time.

Speaker 1:

Not to sound like I'm one step away from ordering an avalate, if you know what that is, but but I, um, I had a lovely lemon alveoli the thing that I used to put on this and it's gone. It's totally gone. I gotta go down to the, the place where I got that, and get some more of that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for sure I also. I really appreciate the combo of turkey and ham Because, right, you know, you got. You got your lean protein, but you got a little goodness on top of that.

Speaker 1:

Are you familiar? Do you ever eat an Italian sandwich?

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my daughter works at the sub shop like and it's a very, it's a very good sub shop. It's known for miles and miles around and she actually told me I wish she didn't. I always thought they put Like olive oil on it yeah, no vegetable oil. And she's like I have to put so much on. It grosses me out.

Speaker 2:

I'm like, oh, it's straight to the canola.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. I used to have a character we say you know we're talking coding days like stick death, like during that time frame where you would find an excuse to walk into one of there's four of us, you know pre-sales, post-sales developers. You would find an excuse to walk into one of their cubes Eating fruit, yeah, so you could finish it and throw it in their trap.

Speaker 2:

Oh, totally yeah, that's funny.

Speaker 1:

We call it annoying apple guy, but there is really nothing like the sound of a banana peel being dropped, because you would always do it from high. Mm-hmm, I'd like I go looking like hey, did you get that ticket? Yeah, I got that ticket. I got that ticket, catch up, thank you.

Speaker 2:

Oh, what is it with like we had? I remember this is back when I was at Dell many, many eons ago and it was cute, you know, cubicle city or whatever and for some reason we had this rotten apple that kept being passed around like, yeah, you would open your drawer and there was this like six-month-old apple, just like.

Speaker 1:

Oh, if anybody went on vacation, that is instant in food in the draw, yeah what's the?

Speaker 2:

what's the most egregious vacation prank you've ever been?

Speaker 1:

I think it's the banana. The banana in the in the drawer is one of them. The other one is somebody left their. Somebody left their laptop open. This is 97 or so and. It did, for whatever reason, a disabled screensaver or whatever, so again would can't say these things these days, but they'd be, they'd be. What was it like? Aim pop-up like is what right. Aim popping the sdr team like I like man.

Speaker 2:

Exactly you know and replacing the. The desktop image is a classic one to you know. I mean this class is that's a?

Speaker 1:

For once, that is amazing.

Speaker 2:

I once left for three weeks I think we're gonna go visit my dad who lives abroad and I came back and, I kid you not, every thing in my office Was gift, gift wrap when I said gift wrapped. I mean like meticulously, beautifully Just curated gift grab. It was like the the case. My pens, each individual paper clip like and and I got. I was like holy cow. And then the shock wore off and I was like wait a second. How much productivity do we lose to this activity?

Speaker 2:

No, yeah, that's that's, that's, that's, that's just like. That's not even funny. If you, if you spend any any time in our household, you will know that I have a. I Wouldn't call it a phobia, but it is a severe, severe reaction, negative emotional reaction to glitter.

Speaker 1:

Wow, yeah, I have that with With the loom bracelet, yeah yeah yeah, cuz I. My joke is that those will be in my casket. We will find a way To make it's way, to make it's way.

Music Banter and Digital Customer Success
The Concept of Digital CS Consulting
Digital and Human Interactions in Customer Service
Customer Success Manager Hiring Strategies
Sales to CS Handoff
Improving Sales to Customer Success Process
Prioritizing Product Features and Content Preferences
Food Conversations and Office Pranks